Red Cross opens 3 more 24/7 shelters along Missouri River


June 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Three more shelters are now open round-the-clock in Iowa and Nebraska along the flooding Missouri River. Those shelters are in Malvern and Missouri Valley, Iowa, and Peru, Nebraska. Danelle Schlegelmilch is spokeswoman for the Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross. Despite so many people already being evacuated, Schlegelmilch says the shelters’ cots aren’t yet very full. “Such generous people have opened up their homes to neighbors and friends,” she says. She reminds, “You can go there for information, for a hot meal, for referrals, for minor first aid and just to have a shoulder to lean on. We have trained mental health professionals who are here to help you emotionally, not just physically.” Schlegelmilch says the shelter in Missouri Valley is already putting up people for overnight stays.

“A lot of those folks were moving from the Fort Calhoun shelter, just to accommodate them a little bit better,” she says. “That’s one thing I wanted to remind people, is that if you have a need and you need somewhere to go, you don’t have to just go to the shelter in your town. You’re welcome to go to any of these shelters if you’re affected by the flooding.” Council Bluffs is under Alert One Status, meaning, there is a possibility of evacuations. Schlegelmilch says there likely will be multiple shelters set up within Council Bluffs if that order comes.

She says people will be steered first to a reception site at Iowa Western Community College and from there, they’ll be sent to smaller, local shelters to prevent overcrowding. The Red Cross says those needing a shelter are asked to bring any prescriptions and emergency medications, foods for special diets, identification to show residence in affected areas and supplies for children and infants, including diapers, formula, toys and baby food. They’re asked to bring extra clothing, pillows, blankets and their own hygiene supplies. Due to public health regulations, pets are not permitted in shelters unless they’re service animals.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)